Calendar Dissertation Prospectus

Your dissertation defense committee will have informed you that you passed your defense, or passed with minor revisions needed. In some cases, substantial revisions are needed before the committee members agree to pass the dissertation. The procedures, requirements, and timelines for completing the dissertation process may vary depending on the department and college with which you are affiliated and the type of doctorate you will receive. Once any needed revisions have been completed and approved, you are ready to finish the dissertation and submit the final version to the Graduate School.  

Strategies:

  • Many departments have their own handbooks to guide students through the process with timelines and specific academic style guidelines. Consult the details in the doctoral handbook for your department and college.
  • Review the Doctoral Dissertation Submission requirements found on the Graduate Student Services and Progress Office website. Follow the steps outlined
    for Doctoral Dissertation Submission.

Tips from the Libraries:

  • When submitting your dissertation consider your rights as an author. For example, you may want to retain your legal rights to the copyright for your work.
  • A copy of your dissertation is submitted to the University Digital Conservancy (UDC) for long term, open access and archiving.
    • You will retain your rights to your dissertation when submitting it to the UDC.  
    • The UDC copy of your dissertation will be freely available for you and others to read and link to with a permanent url. 
    • Learn more about the benefits of the UDC for your dissertation.
  • A copy of your dissertation is submitted to ProQuest/UMI Dissertation Publishing making information about your dissertation available through ProQuest Digital Dissertations. The full text of your dissertation will be available through libraries that subscribe to this product or copies may be purchased. You may also opt to make your dissertation available on an open access basis via ProQuest Open Access Publishing.  

Closure

Once you have completed the committee, departmental, and graduate school requirements regarding the dissertation, you're almost done. Now it is time for personal and professional considerations. Find a way to bring closure to the dissertation and the doctorate as a goal, deadline, and benchmark in your life and look ahead to the future and the next steps in your career. Taking time to celebrate your achievements, honor and appreciate those who have helped along the way, and refocus your activities will help you articulate and pursue new goals for research, publications, teaching, and community service.

As students work on completing their field statements and finishing up their coursework, they should also work on developing a proposal for Ph.D. field research.  Students are expected to successfully defend their proposal before the end of their third year in the program (or second year if they entered with an M.A. degree). A good dissertation proposal typically includes a review of the literature, an explication of how or why the student's specific subject or approach will constitute a significant contribution to the anthropological literature, a methodological section, a tentative timetable for research, and, if appropriate, a budget. 

A dissertation proposal committee normally consists of the student’s principal advisor and at least three additional members of the Graduate Faculty of Anthropology.  However, because of the interdisciplinary nature of much anthropological research, the Graduate School will also allow dissertation proposal committees in this program to include only three members of the Graduate Faculty in Anthropology and one person from another graduate program at Rutgers or from another university.  Independent scholars deemed qualified by the Graduate School may also serve as outsiders.  Once these requirements are met, additional members of the graduate faculty and/or outside members may also serve.

Dissertation Proposal Defense:  Dissertation proposals are evaluated in an oral dissertation proposal defense conducted by the student’s dissertation proposal defense committee.  A dissertation proposal defense may only take place after the student has completed at least 48 credits of coursework and had their two field statements approved by the Graduate Faculty.  At the defense, students should be prepared to discuss their research proposal, to relate their intended research to wider anthropological scholarship, and to make informed responses to any relevant critiques. The committee may require the student to make further revisions to the proposal, and sometimes even to defend it in another proposal defense. Other faculty may attend the dissertation proposal defense, but the members of the student’s dissertation proposal committee make the final decision on a candidate.  Students will be permitted to defend their dissertation proposals no more than twice.  If a student fails his or her defense twice, his or her enrollment in the graduate program will be terminated.  A student’s second proposal defense shall occur no later than one calendar year after the first.

On successful completion of the proposal defense, the members of a student's dissertation defense committee sign the Application for Admission to Candidacy Form, after which the student is officially admitted to candidacy for the Ph.D.  A final copy of the dissertation proposal must be submitted to the Graduate Director for placement in the student’s files. Although many students find it useful to do some preliminary data collection before their dissertation proposal defense, students are normally expected to wait to conduct the bulk of their dissertation-related data collection until after they have successfully defended their proposals and thus become Ph.D. candidates.

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